Thursday, July 2, 2015

Statement on AG Ken Paxton criminal investigation



Craig McDonald Statement
on Criminal Investigation of Texas AG Ken Paxton


"Texans need to know if the state's top law enforcement officer committed serious crimes. No public official--no matter how powerful--is above the law. The integrity of the legal system is at stake.

For months Attorney General Paxton has suggested that his admitted securities law violations merit nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Now a special prosecutor says that he will present a grand jury with evidence that Paxton's alleged securities fraud constitute a first-degree felony. It's time to determine in a court of law if Attorney General Paxton violated the very state laws that he is supposed to uphold and defend."

Last July Texans for Public Justice filed a formal complaint with the Travis County District Attorney, seeking to determine if there was evidence to charge Ken Paxton with state securities law violations. That district attorney forwarded the complaint to Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis, where the alleged crimes occurred. Willis, a longtime friend and business partner of Paxton, recused himself, leading to the appointment of the special prosecutors who now are preparing to present their findings to grand jury.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lobby Watch: Pitts Hits Lobby with $500,000

Four 2013 lawmakers collected up to $675,000 to lobby their old colleagues this session. Half of that money went to ex-Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts, whose clients include a strip-club trade group. Pitts entered the lobby with almost $500,000 leftover in his war chest--money that he can hand out to his lobby targets. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Perry Indictment Fact-Sheet

A two-count felony indictment continues to saddle ex-Gov. Rick Perry as he announces his second bid for the White House.  Perry has dismissed the indictment as a ‘partisan witch hunt.’  If Perry’s indictment is a partisan witch hunt, then it is one of his own party’s making.  TPJ has the facts!

Read TPJ's fact-sheet and timeline.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Abbott & Lege doom ethics reform

Legislators thumbed their noses at Abbott's ethics emergency. The legislature put a few band-aids on gaping wounds and then passed bills that make the wounds deeper.   They buried two of Abbott's three modest priorities, either with his behind-the-scenes help or his indifference.  
Read the joint press statement from Public Citizen and TPJ.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lobby Watch: Politicians Cower in Payday-Loan Pockets

Predatory lenders stuffed Texas politicians in their back pockets by stuffing nearly $2.5 million in their bank accounts in the last election.  The payday industry is spending up to $3.8 million this legislative session on 77 lobbyists that have so far successfully shredded every meaningful reform bill.

Read the fine print at Lobby Watch.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lobby Watch: American Phoenix's Ties to Macias
Feed Far-Right Conspiracy

The American Phoenix Foundation declines to say who's paying it to pursue compromising videos of Texas lawmakers. Two conservative lawmakers who separately hired American Phoenix founders Joseph and Hannah Basel say political consultant Luke Macias hired the Basels on their behalf.

Lobby Watch's analysis of the clients of Macias Strategies--and who bankrolls their campaigns--will further feed rumors that American Phoenix is targeting moderate Republican lieutenants of House Speaker Joe Straus--rumors that the group denies.

Dig into the conspiracy and the new Lobby Watch.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Watch Your Assets:
Eminent-Domain Billionaires Spark
West Texas Pipe Lying

The Texas Railroad Commission repeatedly misled the public about its involvement in two controversial gas pipelines.  After repeatedly claiming that it had no role in the project, the Railroad Commission quietly approved permits to allow ETP to condemn the land of hundreds of ranchers. Explaining such takings to the commissioners' xenophobic GOP base could be rough--given that the purpose of the pipelines is to supply gas to Mexico's state-owned electric company. 
 Read the Watch Your Assets report.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Watch Your Assets Report:
Abbott Confronts Contracting Crisis


The contracting reforms that Gov. Greg Abbott issued in January appear to have had such limited impact that they probably would not have prevented the 21CT scandal that prompted them. Public-Information records from 13 state agencies suggest that such policies already were in place at many agencies, according to TPJ’s new report.
Read the new Watch Your Assets report.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lobby Watch: Tesla & Car Dealers up the Ante

Tesla Motors and Texas auto dealers both revved up their political spending as the electric-car maker again tries to overturn a law that bars direct sales of Teslas to Texas consumers.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSLdag4mP1nLaKR15aiI5hI47s_kM8Ut4pRXmi2X103aTK9QpxO8wTesla is outspending dealers 3:1 in the lobby, but dealers handed out 40 times more campaign cash. Tesla's Elon Musk narrowed those odds some by only giving money to winning candidates. In fact, he made most of his contributions after the election was in his rear-view mirror.

It's illegal to test drive a Tesla in Texas but you can take Lobby Watch for a spin.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Lobby Watch: Fracking Industry Gave Lawmakers $5.5 Million

data:image/jpeg;base64,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The energy industry is the state's most generous to political candidates. No wonder lawmakers are flocking around bills to block local government restrictions on fracking operations. One pro-fracking bill counts more than a third of the House as its sponsors! 

Sen. Troy Fraser leads his chamber in his dependency on fossil-fuel funds. Fraser authored a leading fracking-protection bill, as well as other key bills servicing oil-and-gas interests. 

Using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, Lobby Watch tracks $5.5 million in recent legislative hydrocarbon contributions from wellhead to war chest.